SICKNESS AND HEALTH
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What the Bible says about sickness and health
The Bible talks about sickness. To understand God’s view on this subject and others, it’s necessary to have a general understanding of the Bible itself.
The Bible is divided into two parts. The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament basically describes God’s relationship with man or covenant with us prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. The New Testament describes the life of Jesus and the New Covenant between God and mankind made available to us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We don’t use the word covenant as much today as when the Bible was written but basically a covenant is a binding, formal agreement or contract between two people. Therefore, it is good for us to know the New Covenant in effect between God and us today.
Sickness and Health under the Old Covenant
To really understand what the New Covenant or New Testament says about sickness and health it’s good to look at the Old Testament to get a background of the subject and how sickness came to be and its progression in the Earth.
In the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, there was no sickness and disease. Adam and Eve and all of mankind were intended to live forever--free from pain and sickness. In the end, in Heaven—the New Jerusalem—there will be no sickness and disease. There will be no sorrow or pain, (Revelation 21:4). So why is there sickness here now?
Sickness came after the fall of man. After Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. It came as a result of spiritual death. The moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God they died—not physically—but spiritually, (Genesis 2:17). Spiritual death is separation from God, who is life. The spiritual death that occurred in their life at the time they sinned affected their physical body. That’s why eventually they died physically.
In the beginning, people lived hundreds of years. But as sin progressed in the Earth, even prior to the flood, the Lord said man’s days would be limited to 120 years, (Gen. 6:3). (It’s interesting to note that the first death recorded wasn’t from sickness at all but from sin—from murder).
So we see that as a result of sin and the progression of sin in mankind our life span was shortened.
Why didn’t God do something?
He did. But originally, God gave man dominion over the Earth. When He made Adam and Eve He told them to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth and subdue it. He said to have dominion or to rule over the Earth, (Genesis 1:28). After they fell in the Garden, Satan became the god of this world, (2 Corinthians 4:4). God told Noah to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth but He couldn’t tell him to subdue it and have dominion over it because now man was no longer in control. The best He could do was to put the fear of man into the animals so they wouldn’t run wild and destroy them. (Genesis 9:1-2).
God tried to find a people who would live as He intended for them to live. To live as He created Adam and Eve and all of mankind for. He wanted a people like Him, in His image and likeness who He could fellowship with. He tried through the line of Seth, but they ended up inter-marrying with those who were ungodly and the desire to live for the Lord was lost. (Genesis 6:2).
He tried with Noah by wiping out everyone except for Noah and his family. He established a covenant with Noah, (Genesis 7:18). But sin was bound in the hearts of men, even in Noah’s descendants.
As time went on, God found a man to make a covenant with. He found Abram, later named Abraham. God made a covenant with Abraham that from his children He would raise up a people of His own, (Genesis 12:2-3, 17:1-2).
Later on, when God’s people were in slavery, God raised up Moses to deliver them and bring them into a country of their own, (Exodus 6). He gave them the law, including the ten commandments as a standard to live by. The agreement was that if they were obedient to Him and His commands then they would be blessed beyond measure with health, wealth, peace, joy etc.. (Deuteronomy 28).
We can see as we read the Old Testament that the times when plagues came upon God’s people were when there was sin among them. But God made it clear in spite of that that He was the One who healed them. (Exodus 15:26). Whenever His people got into trouble He was ready, willing and able to deliver them when they asked for His forgiveness and help.
Does this mean that I am sick because I’ve sinned and that God is punishing me because of sin?
It means that sin opened the door for sickness to come upon all of mankind. It doesn’t mean there is a specific sin in your life that is causing a disease, (although there could be). There are babies who are born with diseases and they’ve never had a chance to do any right or wrong so how could a specific sin be responsible for their condition? It’s the effect of spiritual death working in lives where there has been opportunity, because of the sin of mankind.
God didn’t intend for mankind to live in sickness or poverty and lack. His intention was for man to live a happy, fulfilling life.
We see in the life of Job that Satan is the one who put sickness and disease on Job. He killed his family, wiped out his finances and brought all kinds of trouble and heartache into Job’s life. Satan is the one who instigated the whole thing. God was bragging on Job and Satan was accusing him, (Job 1-2).
The New Covenant
It was evident under the Old Covenant that people couldn’t live up to God’s standards. Whenever they sinned, they had to offer up animal sacrifices to the Lord to atone for, or cover, their sin. This was how God was able to forgive, heal and bless them. But this really wasn’t God’s best. God wanted man to get back to a place where He could fellowship with us like in the beginning. He wanted a people who were spiritually alive again and filled with His life and nature.
So God had a better plan all along. Back in the Garden, after Adam and Eve sinned God said there would be One who would bruise Satan’s head, (Genesis 3:15). The authority given to Satan by Adam and Eve’s sin would one day be stopped by Him. And when that happened God could once again have a people like Him, in His image, who are spiritually alive.
How? God Himself came into the Earth, (John 1:11,14). Born of a virgin and therefore without the sinful nature, He lived a life free from sin, (Hebrews 4:15). Yet He chose to die and became the ultimate sacrifice atoning for our sin. In so doing, He has given to those who receive Him and believe in Him, His life and nature once again. And also, Jesus Christ has taken away Satan’s authority in the Earth and given it back to those who believe in Him, (John 1:12-13, Luke 10:19).
We once again, can rule in the Earth the way God intended in the beginning. The devil is still around but now we have the authority as well as the spiritual strength to resist him in the Name of Jesus, (James 4:7).
What does all this have to do with sickness and health?
Everything. Because sickness and destruction came into the world through sin. Now we have a way to live in victory over sin and sickness through Jesus Christ, (2 Corinthians 2:14). Jesus took not only the punishment for our sin, He took our sickness as well, (Isaiah 53:5). Under this New Covenant, health and healing were provided for just as much as victory over sin was.
But what about...
But what about all the good people, even Christians who are sick? The devil is a thief and he roams about seeking whom he may devour, (John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8). He will not stop messing with people’s lives if he is not made to stop. If people don’t know or don’t believe what Jesus has provided for then how can they stand against these things when they come. They can’t. The Bible says, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6).
Notice He said "My people". Just because you become a Christian doesn’t guarantee you’ll automatically have everything come easy for you and all the blessings of health, peace, joy and prosperity will fall in your lap. If we, God’s own people, are destroyed because of a lack of knowledge then we need to start learning some things. It’s important to find out and learn about all that Jesus has provided for us in this New Covenant.
What are we supposed to do now?
James 5:14-15 says;
Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Is any sick among you? This is one way to receive healing. By having the elders of the church pray over you and anoint you with oil, and the prayer of faith will save you.
There are also other ways to receive healing:
-By putting faith in the Word of God concerning healing (Psalm 103:2-3, Psalm 91:10,16, John 10:10, Mark 11:24).
Our Heavenly Father is the One who heals all of our diseases. Jesus came to give us life and life abundantly. And He said whatever we desire when we pray to believe that we receive it and we will have it.
-By the laying on of hands of any believer in Christ (Mark 16:17-18).
Jesus said a sign that will accompany those who believe is that they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.
-By a gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:9).
God will move at times through a supernatural gift of the Spirit to bring healing to people. We thank God when He does this. Although it's important to remember that there are these other ways to receive healing and not to just wait for Him to move in this way.
God’s nature is to give, love, forgive and heal. It’s shown in the life of Jesus who never turned anyone away who came to Him for healing. He never even delayed their healing. The only requirement was that they believe. If He didn’t want us healed, He wouldn’t have provided for it on the cross and healing wouldn’t have been such a major part of the life of Jesus.
So what does the Bible say?
The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus came to give life and life abundantly. (John 10:10).
God’s Words are life to those that find them and health (or medicine) to all their flesh. (Proverbs 4:20-22).
God sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions. (Psalm 107:20).
God’s Word does not return void but it accomplishes that which it was sent to do. (Isaiah 55:11).
Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. (John 1:14,17).
Jesus went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. (Acts 10:38).
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace and obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16).
By grace you are saved, (delivered, protected, healed), through faith. (Ephesians 2:8).
Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13).
Jesus bare our sins in His own body on the cross so that we who are dead to sins should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes we were healed. (1 Peter 2:24).
Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases. (Psalm 103:2-3).
I see that you are a loving God who cares about all of mankind and You care about me. I am sorry for my sin and any way that I’ve displeased You. I see that Jesus Christ has paid the price and taken the punishment for my sin. I see that You raised Jesus from the dead showing that the price was paid in full for my sin and all the effects of sin. Because of Jesus I can have eternal life. I can have a relationship with you, Almighty God. I can live free from sin and sickness and destruction. I can live a life of holiness, peace, health and provision all because of Jesus Christ. Thank You Jesus. I invite You into my life as Lord and Savior, as the Provider of all my needs, and the Healer of my body. Amen.